Sunny beaches, surfing, hiking, and a tropical climate all year long is what the Canary Islands are most known for. After a month of checking out the scene for ourselves, we can totally agree. But what makes sitting by a pool, sunny beach, or walking through town even better? A glass of local beer served in a cold glass (in some cases, with ice)!
I have a strong relationship with beer. With my Slovak background and Czech influence, where the beer is said to be some of the best in the world, I consider myself to be quite the picky drinker.
Before coming to Gran Canaria we were a little worried about the taste of the beer, so we had one last cheers with our mighty delicious Plzen (Pilsner) at the airport.
Just as we had suspected, our first impression was no mind-blowing experience. Almost every beer is served in a small bottle or draft beer in a small glass. Definitely not what we’re used to. But you can start ordering two at the same time :)
*Tip: A quick dictionary for ordering the size you want:
- CAÑA (kahn-yeah) means a small draft beer. It’s about 25-33cl of beer.
- JARRA (harra) is usually the largest glass they'll have, normally about a pint.
- BOTTELIN (boh-tey-in) is a bottled beer, sizes may vary.
Most Common Canarian Beers
It's everywhere you go. Brewed by CCC (Compañia Cervecera de Canarias) here in Las Palmas, Tropical is the island's most popular beer of choice, but plummets in the popularity charts in the neighboring islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, according to my research.
There are several different versions, including one with lime (Tropical Limón, which is basically a Shandy) and non-alcoholic. All variations are served in a chilled glass, making it a nice refreshing drink for the beach when you don’t want to drink water. No matter how popular it is, I can hardly consider this funny liquid a proper beer.
Similar to the ever-so-popular Tropical is Dorada. This one comes from the island of Tenerife (where we will be going next week!), but comes in second in Gran Canarian sales. The initial taste is different; mostly thicker and stronger. Dorada is definitely more similar to the beers I'm used to, even if it is brewed by the same company as its watery sister, Tropical.
What do the Canary Islands have to offer for beer lovers?
Drinking Tropical instead of a water on the beach is amazing, but when it comes to going out to a pub or just walking down the streets of the old town, the scene shifts a little. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to taste some of the less popular local beers (aka non-commercial). And yes, there are some pretty good ones.
There are small breweries all over the islands, but you can’t find those beers in many pubs (or at least we had bad luck). If you want to try a variety of Canary Island Beers and other small Spanish brands, go to Pecado Iberico or Te lo dije Pérez.
Here are my personal "Top 3" champions:
Viva Gran Canaria
A small brewery here on the island that combines German traditions and ingredients with local water from the Santa Lucia region in Gran Canaria. This has the most similar taste and texture to what I'm used to from Czech Beers. The brand offers a few versions like La Viva Lager or a really thick dark one La Viva Morena.
You may not find my opinions to be the same as yours, but it's all about your preferences. I hope this inspired you to try some local beers here in the Canary Islands instead of just drinking Tropical all the time.